Key Ideas from Robin Sharma's "The Leader Who Had No Title"

20 min read

Leaders become people who do what losers don't want to do - leaders also sometimes don't want to do it, but they do it anyway. They have internal discipline, so they are able to choose important things, rather than easy and pleasant ones. But this does not mean that real leaders live hard and gloomy lives. Their lives are so joyful and full of spiritual satisfaction that most people will never experience.

What really matters is whether you have known your inner leader, and if you have, whether you dared to let him/her give your gifts to the world. This is arguably the most important goal of life when you disregard all irrelevant minutiae.

Ten Human Regrets 👇:

1️⃣ You reach your last day with the brilliant song that your life was meant to sing still silent within you.
2️⃣ You reach your last day without ever having experienced the natural power that inhabits you to do great work and achieve great things.
3️⃣ You reach your last day realizing that you never inspired anyone else by the example that you set.
4️⃣ You reach your last day full of pain at the realization that you never took any bold risks and so you never received any bright rewards.
5️⃣ You reach your last day understanding that you missed the opportunity to catch a glimpse of mastery because you bought into the lie that you had to be resigned to mediocrity.
6️⃣ You reach your last day and feel heartbroken that you never learned the skill of transforming adversity into victory and lead into gold.
7️⃣ You reach your last day regretting that you forgot that work is about being radically helpful to others rather than being helpful only to yourself.
8️⃣ You reach your last day with the awareness that you ended up living the life that society trained you to want versus leading the life you truly wanted to have.
9️⃣ You reached your last day and awaken to the fact that you never realized your absolute best nor touched the special genius that you were built to become.
🔟 You reach your last day and discover you could have been a leader and left this world so much better than you found it. But you refused to accept that mission because you were just too scared. And so you failed. And wasted a life.

Unrealized opportunities turn into suffering. It's really sad that people lead average and boring lives.

Ten Human Victories 👇:

1️⃣ You reach your end full of happiness and fulfillment on realising that you are all used up – having spent the fullness of your talents, the biggest of your resources, and best of your potential doing great work and leading a rare-air life.
2️⃣ You reach your end knowing that you played at a standard of concentrated excellence and held yourself to the most impeccable standards in each thing you did.
3️⃣ You reach your end in noisy celebration for having the boldness of spirit to have regularly confronted your largest fears and realised your highest visions.
4️⃣ You reach your end and recognise that you became a person who build people up versus one who tore people down.
5️⃣ You reach your end with the understanding that while your journey may have not always been a smooth one, whenever you got knocked down you instantly got back up – and at all times, never suffered from any loss optimism.
6️⃣ You reach your end and bask in the staggering glory of your phenomenal achievements along with the rich value you have contributed to the lives of the people you were lucky to serve.
7️⃣ You reach your end and adore the strong, ethical, inspirational and empathetic person you grew into.
8️⃣ You reach your end and realise that you were a genuine innovator who blazed new trails instead of following old roads.
9️⃣ You reach your end surrounded with teammates who call you a rock star, customers who say you’re a hero, and loved ones who call you a legend.
🔟 You reach your end as a true Leader Without a Title, knowing that the great deeds you did will endure long after your death and that your life stands as a model of possibility.

Happy coincidences are unexpected rewards for our wise choices or decisions. Success is the guaranteed result of a series of conscious actions.

A leader must believe in their vision and their strength. The influence created by a title or position is temporary and disappears along with the loss of a certain title. There is a much subtler power than the power of the title - it's the innate leadership power, present in each of us. It's a pity that our leadership potential is usually very poorly utilized if ever.

Four Innate Powers 👇:

1️⃣ We all have the power to work every day, demonstrating everything we have absolutely best in us. And we don't need any titles for that.
2️⃣ We all have the power to inspire, positively influence and uplift every person we meet. And we don't need any titles for that.
3️⃣ We all can implement positive changes in the face of unfavourable surroundings. And we don't need any titles for that.
4️⃣ We all can act respectfully, understandingly, and benevolently with everyone we work with - and by doing so, raise the culture of the organisation to a perfect level. And we don't need any titles for that.

It doesn't matter what status you have in your organisation, what age you are, and where you live - you can be a leader. And no other person, no circumstance can hinder you.

We all have a leadership button within us and it is our duty to press it. By doing so, we make a fundamental choice that essentially changes any career - and every life. This illustrious choice helps to get rid of the habit of playing the victim. An informal leader has a much greater impact on people than any titled leader.

If we want to become true leaders, we must get rid of the habit of looking for excuses. Nobody ever climbed a great mountain if they were looking for excuses for why things are this way or another. People who are good at justifying themselves are usually not very great in other areas.

"My mission is to inspire more than two hundred and fifty thousand other people to help them understand their innate leadership power. This has become my calling. Nothing in life can give me more happiness."

IMAGE Leadership algorithm.
We must work and live according to it. Here's what it means 👇:

I - Innovation
The pursuit to make today better than yesterday, without looking back. Relying on what worked a year or two ago is dangerous. Customers and clients constantly want innovations, not reprocessed old goods and services. Leaders must constantly nourish their minds, develop skills, and always ask themselves what they can improve today. They must stick to their solemn promise to make all things they touch better than they found. And constantly recreate themselves.

Don't be afraid to change the established order and constantly rethink your work style. Always think about how you could improve your work performance and productivity. Always put yourself in the buyer's place and look for ways to enchant them.

Every morning, when you wake up, have one goal: to do everything a little better today than yesterday.

If you don't strive for innovation and don't look for novelties, you will soon be crushed by mediocrity. Don't go with the flow - strive to be different. Improve everything you do.

Dream of big things but start with small steps and start from today. Small things over time create huge success. This is called a compounding effect.

M - Mastery
A commitment to strive for mastery, no matter what you do - whether your job is to sell trinkets or to teach children. This is the only standard to align with in the world where everything changes so fast.

We shouldn’t be afraid to demand a lot from ourselves, and we should commit to being the first, the only, and the absolute best in whatever it is we do. We should even expect more from ourselves than anyone else can expect from us. When we do more than necessary all the time, we have far fewer competitors, because most people seem to think they couldn't be this way.

You can even ask yourself: "How would the person who is the best in the world do what I am doing right now?" And strive to act and behave like that person.

"Work creates conditions to awaken your inner leader. It is an opportunity to realise more of the potential that lies deep within us every day. It is a great chance to develop creativity."

People accompanied by success have successful thinking. The best leaders develop the best leadership skills. Scientific studies show that mastery of activities is acquired over about ten thousand hours, which, if living normally, is almost ten years.

A - Authenticity
The ability to influence your organisation's activities and results is determined less by the formal powers given to you, but more by your own personality. One of the leader's tasks is to ignore the screaming voices, media, so that you can hear your mission and calling more clearly within yourself. Authenticity is your ability to feel safe in your own skin and to trust yourself so that you can work based on your values.

It's also the ability to speak in your own voice and know who you are and what your principles are. It's the courage to defend your principles in every situation, not just when it's convenient. This means being consistent in everything you do and that your external actions match who you are inside. Authentic people are aware of their potential and they work well - because that's who they really are. They are faithful to their talents and when they go to work every day, they do everything they can.

It's all about being faithful to who we are even if everyone around us would want us to be someone else. We must remain dedicated to our mission and values even if people doubt us.

Leadership is first and foremost believing in yourself when no one else does and about measuring success not by what we receive, but by what we give.

G - Guts
To be a leader requires great willpower and a lot of guts. You have to be incredibly persistent and brave. You have to dare more than a "sensible" person and take much greater risks than ordinary people. The best, most prominent leaders in their work become those who develop a mentality that doesn't recognise the possibility of failure.

The essence of leadership is that the bolder dreams you nurture and the more masterfully you do your work, the greater resistance you encounter. The higher you climb, the more obstacles you will meet. Failures will start to haunt you. Things will not go as you would like them to go. Competitors will strive to push you back. And there will be people next to you who will try to take your courage away. Those who cannot abandon their old ways of doing things and fear change will fold their arms and become your harshest critics.

And when you rise above the crowd, aligning yourself with your standards, which are much higher than those that anyone else could set for you, you will go through periods of self-doubt. However, your belief that you can accomplish something significant, and faith in the kind of leader you aspire to become, will outweigh your fear.

You must remain true to your vision and have the strength to continually demonstrate your very best qualities, and that requires courage and willpower. The great determination that all prominent personalities have shown.

E - Ethics
You must always strive to remain impeccably virtuous, to defend your personal brand. You must be extraordinarily honest, say what you think and keep your word. Be humble and commit yourself to work showing such strength of character as shown by people you admire most.

Within twenty-four hours, write down all your work and personal life areas where you avoid responsibility and play the role of a victim. Then select Daily Quintet (innovation, mastery, authenticity, guts, ethics) task lists for each upcoming weekday to create a driving force that will help you change.

Turbulent circumstances help to develop skills, reveal hidden talents and increase performance efficiency. We all are good skiers on easy tracks, but only difficult tracks show our true abilities - as difficult conditions immediately reveal our technical level. Anyone can be a star when the economy is strong, competition is weak, and consumers are loyal, but only tough times reveal what we are worth - and what kind of leaders we are.

You have to adapt. True leaders understand that anything that helps an individual to expand and grow is considered a very good thing. Personal growth and mastery are the only and best survival strategies. Often things must first fall apart to be rebuilt much better.

Don't stop doing what makes you feel uncomfortable or scares you. Take a risk. Be loyal to changes.

Five rules of leadership - SPARK: 👇

S - Speak with confidence
Leadership without a title is first and foremost open communication that inspires people. Poor communication is poor leadership. Only bare truth-telling will guarantee you trust and respect. Your clients will know that you are speaking openly with them, and colleagues will know that you are not playing any games.

A leader without a title must dare to have difficult conversations that spiritually weaker, fearful people avoid. Leaders should always speak openly and directly and tell the truth, even when their voices tremble and palms sweat, and know that the truth will not please people who hear it.

In difficult times, it's important not only to communicate properly but also to communicate a lot. With clients, colleagues, shareholders, suppliers - to listen and understand how all these market participants feel. Intensive communication will guarantee flawless relationships and prevent problems from arising.

Never send an email if you can meet in person. If you need to discuss something or strengthen relationships, leave your workplace and go talk to your colleagues. Take the time to sit down with people at the table and have quality conversations as often as possible.

Don't be harsh, speak encouragingly, as this will allow you to achieve much more. You can say everything you need to say, but it's better to use uplifting words. Everything depends on the style of speech. Leaders Without a Title impeccably choose their words, do not gossip, do not complain, do not condemn, and never swear. The only words they use every day are meant to inspire, interest, and elevate.

For example, you should replace such words as "You're doing a poor job, you should try harder" with "I appreciate that you're putting in a lot of effort, and I would like to suggest a few opportunities that I think would elevate your work to an even higher level".

P - Prioritisation
With the business world being so turbulent, it is very easy to forget your mission, vision, values, and goals. When everything seems to be falling apart, there is a huge temptation to take the easy way out. However, true leaders do not get distracted, they remain focused on the most important things. They are disciplined. They do not forget the essence of things and everything else does not matter. Leadership - is to know very little about most things and a lot - about a few things.

The insatiable desire to create an extraordinary organisation that offers people wonderful products and services is a truly great desire. The resilient pursuit to turn your fears and weaknesses into strength is an extraordinarily good pursuit. Therefore, a manic focus on things that seem to be the most important to you is not an unhealthy thing. It's a way to win in this world of countless choices and overwhelming information.

The best leaders see only the most important goals. Firmly decided, they look for the best opportunities, do not get distracted, are militantly disciplined to perform their mission and say "no" to everything else. So you should clearly know your priorities and discard everything else. Reject insignificant activities and keep only what is the most important.

Remember this rule - "80% of your results are the consequence of 20% of your actions". Therefore, only care about important things that create the bulk of your results. Learn to do those things very well and do not waste your time on things that don’t matter. When you do fewer things better, you will have much more time.

Write down on paper five things that have to happen to you, so that at the end of your career you would know that you have squeezed everything out of yourself. This will help you not to lose sight of the most important priorities. This process will also release your positive energy, which will help you achieve your desired results even faster.

A - Adversity breeds opportunity
Every failure presents you with a new opportunity, often even greater than what you lost by experiencing that failure. Every calamity has a corresponding blessing. Each supposed defeat opens new doors, and if you have the courage to step through them, you will achieve such victories that you dared not dream of until that "defeat". Every failure is a source of new victories. And each dead dream brings another one to life. You just need to train your brain to interpret reality this way.

Do not let other people's opinions deprive you of what is best. Keep moving forward because activity is the antidote to despair. In difficult conditions, just be active and continue to make the best decisions and act as much as human powers allow. Always strive for progress, no matter how difficult it may seem. Remember, every positive action has positive consequences, even if the results are not immediately visible.

Doing nothing is also a decision, so avoid stagnating in one place. When you notice that you don’t feel courageous and want to give up, do not stop, keep moving forward, even if you are not sure where you are going yet.

Failures are nothing more than tests, showing whether you are ready for the rewards that can be yours. Obstacles only arise to check how serious you are about achieving your goal. Most people give up as soon as they hit a wall.

R - Respond (when troubled times hit, it's important not to react, but to respond)
Act tactfully when pressed. Stop worrying about all the things you can't control, instead, focus on perfecting the areas you have control over. Take the initiative and show your team that you are at the front of your team. Be energetic, and create the desired results yourself while others wait for someone to tell them what to do. Remember, the most beautiful time to lead is when it seems that everything is falling apart. Instead of being paralysed by fear, stay calm, work skillfully, and change the situation. Be assertive and learn to ignore the noise. Always remember that hard work is a warm-up before a victory, which is called success.

K - Kudos (honour and respect)
Leaders must be able to lift people's spirits and inspire them. You must lead people and always value and praise them, even for the smallest positive things they do. Every remaining day of life, be one of those few people who constantly praise other people's efforts, look for good qualities in them, and sincerely applaud when they perform even the smallest positive action. Show respect to your colleagues, and listen to them.

Write down what one change is most needed in your organisation. Then write why people in the organization resist it. And finally, write at least three good things you would get if you initiated that change.

The success of leadership depends on the quality of relationships. The most important thing in business is a close relationship with people.

Business is a congregation of people who have decided to pursue their dreams and have gathered together for this reason. It's also a tool to help other people, inspire employees to realise their human potential, and to help customers fulfill their deepest desires.

If you want to win, you must help others. And create a culture of masterful action in your organisation, where everyone works as well as they really can.

You don't have to be a leader to awaken the best qualities of your colleagues and make a wonderful impact on your organisation. You don't have to be the president of a company to create deep relationships with shareholders but you do have to commit yourself to demonstrating your best qualities and helping others do the same at work every day. When you sincerely want to help your team members, they will sincerely want to help you.

The Leader Without a Title always takes the first step. So don't wait for someone to try to connect with you first. You should be the one showing the way.

Always give what you want to receive the most. For example, if you want more support, support others more. If you want more recognition, praise others more often. If you want more respect, show respect first.

Personal leadership example is one of the most effective ways to have a positive impact on people. Nobody likes being told to change. If you force people to change, they will only close in on themselves. Spread the light, draw a vision of the future for people. The moment you start demonstrating masterful leadership with every action, your example will inspire other team members to shine the brightest light. The determination to do everything to rewrite your story and show how great you can be will encourage everyone else you work with to rewrite their stories and also become great leaders and people.

If you seriously want to dominate, become a walking, talking, living, and radiating positive energy, showing goodwill to every person you have the joy of helping. And don't forget to grow people - leaders ignite the best qualities in people and create an environment that allows them to flourish.

People do business with those they like and trust. People also do business with those who make them feel special. Treat people as very important individuals.

The success of a leader depends on the quality of his relationships - HUMAN 👇

H - Helpfulness
Business is the ability to benefit others. Always do more than you are paid for. Be helpful. Even commit yourself to becoming the most helpful person in the world.

U - Understanding
To build truly good relationships, you must not only be very helpful but also understanding, so you must be able to listen carefully. The ability to listen is a necessary skill for a leader. A large part of your efforts at work should be dedicated to spiritually supporting people. When you sincerely listen to people, you show them true respect.

M - Mingle
You need to build strong relationships with your colleagues and nurture relationships with customers. When you mingle with people, positive results and wins will begin to emerge. When people see your face, you will stand out from others. People will start to recognise you and start to like you.

A - Amuse
When we have fun at work, productivity increases. Fun makes any activity more interesting. Fun encourages closer collaboration. When people are having fun, the energy of the entire organisation rises to a higher level. If people enjoy work, the tension that oppresses them decreases. They are more willing to do unexpected things to please customers and are more willing to work harder.

N - Nurture
You have to be incredibly nice. You must maintain a perfect balance between courage and compassion. As a leader, you will know that people and relationships are the most important but no one denies that you cannot require the highest quality of work, the highest dedication and the best results from people at the same time - you can be both gentle and demanding at the same time.
You need to know the best qualities of people and help them reveal them. Surrounded by chaos, you have to be able to maintain warm relationships. Leave every person you meet better, happier and more inspired than they were before, and then watch how it affects your career.

Take five minutes and remember the person who had the biggest impact on your life. What are his/her three distinctive features? How could you implement them at work and in your personal life?

To be a great leader, first become a great person. When you and every team member awaken their great leader and start doing their best, your company naturally rises to a higher level.

Discard negative attitudes and thoughts that only the chosen ones become leaders. Awaken your abilities, and set high goals for yourself. Do the inner work so that your personality becomes nobler, your intentions - purer, and your actions - more meaningful. Diligently improve yourself and do everything that helps you maintain excellent health, because then you will be full of energy and life. Success belongs to energetic people.

To truly become a great person and be a leader, you also need to purify your emotions, free yourself from any humiliation if you feel it, and get rid of the burden of the past. All that junk will only hinder you from moving forward and will not allow your greatness to unfold. Improve so that you can devote your best years to work that will survive after your death. It is important to realise yourself and make this world a little better.

Remember that in your deathbed, your title, prestige and academic degree will mean very little. It’ll only matter whether you used your abilities, whether you were a leader and whether you made this world a little better. Therefore, who you become is much more important than what you have.

But you cannot escape yourself. If your self-esteem is low, your character is weak, and you are full of fears, then you won't achieve anything great, no matter how hard you try. Don't postpone anything that must be done today for tomorrow, because tomorrow might never come.

SHINE - Personal leadership and the ability to lead oneself is about doing 5 essential things 👇:

S - Seeing Clear
Leadership is impossible without clearly understanding existing conditions and circumstances. It is important to realise that we see the world not as it is, but as we are.

So if our inner world is a mess, so will our lives be. If our inner world is etched with the belief that we can't lead without a title, then our actions, of course, will align with this belief and we won't become leaders until we have a title. If we believe that most people are not worthy of trust or that most jobs lack meaning, then we will not see any meaning.

Thinking is very important as it creates reality. What we focus on, we get more of. Our thoughts are the driving force of our actions. In life, we are not hindered by external factors, but by our internal thinking patterns and behaviour in the face of external conditions. We must get rid of failure programs. True leaders overcome such obstacles and rise to the heights of spiritual strength.

Think like a champion. Take full responsibility for the information that reaches your brain. And for that, you need to understand that your mind is no place for any negative thoughts.

Any of our actions are a reflection of our thoughts because our thinking conditions our behaviour, and our behaviour determines certain consequences.

For example, if you don't believe that you can become a star of your company, then nothing in the world will force you to behave in a way that would allow you to climb your career ladder. So become a great thinker and you will see that you will create what you think about just by believing in your greatness.

Try to get up one or two hours earlier every morning and dedicate them to self-improvement - let this become your morning calibration ritual, a constant preparation and improvement practice. It's like setting yourself anew and preparing for the day - renewing, spiritually rebirthing, exercising the mind, strengthening the body, and developing the emotional and spiritual aspects of personality.

Remember: when you feel great and your inner life thrives, then this personal mastery positively affects everything you touch.

H - Health Is Wealth
Excellent health is above everything else in your life. Good health will elevate you in all areas - from the ability to think clearly in times of stress, and work efficiency to mood management.

I - Inspiration Matters
It is important to replenish the source of inspiration every day, as life's challenges drain it daily. Leadership is first and foremost about striving to always be the most inspired among those you are with. One of the best ways to draw inspiration is to listen to music. Communicating with interesting people who like to be special, ethical and original. Being in nature is another effective way to ignite the creative fire within yourself and feel the desire to do great things at work.

N -Neglect Not Your Family
Loved ones are very important. Without them, life loses its meaning. By cultivating beautiful relationships with family members and friends, one can experience a lot of joy. A strong foundation at home leads to solid and consistent results at work.

E - Elevate Your Lifestyle
Every day, do something to improve your lifestyle. You only live once, so enjoy it wholeheartedly.

7 Fundamentals of Personal Leadership 👇:

Read books that inspire you, strengthen your personality, and remind you how the most prominent leaders of our planet thought and acted. Listen to recordings about mastery in business, team building, health innovations, relationship nurturing, and personal initiative.

Positive affirmations
One of the most effective ways to eliminate negative attitudes and internal failure programs is to constantly repeat statements about the kind of leader you want to become and the achievements you commit to achieving. For example, a statement repeated in the morning "Today I do everything focused, masterfully and passionately" will inspire you to think like a winner.

Mental activity is based on images. Every great achievement began with images in the minds of their creators. External achievements begin in the mind. All knowledge is nothing more than invisible creativity turned visible. Close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving your goals, working masterfully and fully awakening the inner leader.

A very effective way to refine thinking, develop self-awareness, and record anticipated consequences. During your self-improvement hour, write down your insights, feelings, hopes and dreams, as well as your disappointments if you experience them, and delve into your fears. Strive diligently to know yourself and your talents, which are waiting to be expressed.

Goal setting
Setting goals and then constantly keeping them in mind is a very effective method of pursuing success. Your goals will become centres of attention in your career and personal life. Goals radiate hope and positive energy. And when failure strikes - clearly defined goals will become your guiding stars. Goals also guarantee that you will live a life consciously and fruitfully.

Any daily physical activity promotes brain activity, inspires energy, helps cope with stress more successfully and allows you to stay in the game longer.

What you eat determines how you feel. If you eat like a champion - your energy will remain at the highest level, and your moods - positive. Also, remember that eating less will make you perform better.

Truly healthy and happy people cannot hurt others. If you’re healthy and happy, you will have much respect for yourself, a positive attitude, inspiration and a desire to behave wonderfully everywhere and always - you simply won’t be able to behave badly towards anyone.

By the way, gratitude is the antidote to fear. If you praise all the good things in your life for at least five minutes during the first hours of your day, you will feel much happier. Happy people become happy leaders.

In your journal, write down five things you will immediately undertake to revive your inner leader and inspire your mind, body, emotions, and spirit to achieve mastery in life. Then plan your time in such a way that you can perform these five tasks uncompromisingly.